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UFO public bench by Peter Newman at Canary Wharf
Peter Newman adds UFO public bench to Canary Wharf to "encourage contemplation of the sky"

Peter Newman adds UFO public bench to Canary Wharf to "encourage contemplation of the sky"

British artist Peter Newman has installed a flying-saucer-shaped bench named Skystation between Foster + Partners Crossrail Place and Cesar Pelli's One Canada Square skyscraper in Canary Wharf, London.

Described by the artist as "an interactive public sculpture and seat," the circular bench was recently installed in the London financial district to encourage people to stop, recline and look up at the sky.

UFO public bench by Peter Newman at Canary Wharf
Peter Newman installed a UFO-shaped public bench at Canary Wharf

"The contours are designed to fit the reclining human form and encourage contemplation of the sky and the architecture that frames it," Newman told Dezeen.

"It creates an opportunity for pause, reflection and interaction within the public realm. Gravity puts the past beneath us, so looking up is akin to thinking about the future."

UFO public bench by Peter Newman at Canary Wharf
Skystation can seat up to 12 people. Photo by David Hares

The aluminium-bronze bench, which is the latest in the series that have been installed at various locations in the UK, resembles a flying saucer.

Although the artist didn't deliberately create a UFO form, he believes it aligns with the aims of the installation.

Aerial view of Canary Wharf
The bench is located between Crossrail Place and One Canada Square. Photo courtesy of Google Landsat / Copernicus

"I didn't set out to create a UFO shape," explained Newman. "It was something that emerged during the design process, but once it did I embraced it."

"As an unexpected object to encounter in a public space it does suggest it's meant to be enjoyed. I like aerodynamic aesthetics and that it looks like it could travel," he continued.

UFO public bench by Peter Newman at Canary Wharf
It was informed by the LC4 chaise longue

The bench was designed to be a comfortable place to sit for multiple people and was informed by the shape of the LC4 chaise longue.

One of the 20th century's best know pieces of furniture, the chair was designed by architects Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand.

"I admired the LC4 for a long time," explained Newman. "The way the shape is so closely informed by the human body. I like the generosity of the design and the supremely relaxed seating position."

"The LC4 still looks modern today and is one of the most comfortable seats out there," he continued.

"But it's a very singular chair and not for socialising. I wondered what would happen if you spun the profile through 360 degrees."

Newman describes the bench as "an interactive public sculpture"

Newman designed the form of the bench, which can seat up to 12 people, to be as simple as possible.

"It's a sculpture completed by the act of using it," he said.

"Art and design come alive through interactions with the people experiencing it. This has a physical and visible expression with Skystation, but also a cerebral one as it offers a space for reflection and conversation."

Aluminium-bronze bench
It was made from aluminium bronze

The Skystation bench was recently unveiled in Canary Wharf near the entrance to the recently opened Elizabeth Line railway station. The station sits underneath the Foster + Partners-designed Crossrail Place shopping centre, which opened in 2015.

The photography is by Peter Newman, unless stated.